Seven Boundaries to Help with Recovery

People in recovery often come from environments or relationships where they struggled with boundaries. Lines were blurred, unhealthy, or even non-existent. These skewed boundaries are often a contributing factor to the development of substance abuse.

When your commitment to recovery is being threatened by people around you, it is important to move away from those toxic relationships. Setting new, manageable boundaries can help you on your path to recovery.

 

Boundaries to Help Maintain Sobriety

  1. Set Limits
    You have your own feelings and beliefs. You also have a right to your own limits. If you have been weighed down by your family or friend’s preferences and dysfunction, you may have turned to drugs or alcohol to cope. Throughout your recovery journey, you will learn how to reconnect with your own wants and needs. You will also learn to how stay true to them.
  2. Establish How You Want to Be Treated
    Once you know how you want to be treated, it is important for you to make that clear to others. For example, you may decide you don’t want to meet your friends when they are drinking socially, but you are willing to meet them in a neutral environment. It is okay for you to limit your meetings with people if you feel triggered when you’re out with them.
  3. Speak Up
    Your voice matters. If you feel like your boundaries have been violated, speak up. It is important for you to make it clear what your needs and limits are. It is okay to tell people when you don’t feel that your boundaries have been respected. The people who will help you live a sober life are the ones who will respect the lines and will not cross them.
  4. Trust Your Gut
    It doesn’t matter what you call your feelings. Whether it’s your gut, intuition, inner voice, or so on, the uncomfortable feelings you get around certain people or places are a sign that one of your boundaries is being crossed. Trust your instincts. When you’re sober, your mind and feelings are sharper than ever. Your body will give you signals when something isn’t right. Listen and trust yourself.
  5. Enforce Your Boundaries
    Event the people who respect your boundaries may test them from time to time. Whether intentionally or unwittingly, there must be consequences for crossing boundaries, especially for those who do so on purpose. Repeated violations of your sober rules may mean that you can no longer keep this person in your life. Certain relationships fracture when one person gets sober. Stay true to your recovery.
  6. Put Yourself First
    Setting boundaries means putting yourself first – and that’s a good thing! When you’re on the journey to recovery, it’s important to be focused on your needs. Self-care is usually something that is missing from a person’s life when they are abusing substances. Remember, self-care is not selfish.
  7. Keep Your Boundaries
    Other people may challenge the boundaries you set for yourself. However, flexibility is not an option when it comes to your limits. Stand firm behind the boundaries you have set for yourself. The boundaries you have set empower and guide you to a healthier life that is free from resentment and toxic behaviors. When you keep your boundaries, you are more present and have healthier relationships.

Telling People You’re in Recovery

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Recovery comes with a lot of uncharted territory, and it doesn’t matter if you’ve been sober for years or you’ve only just completed a program at a recovery center. While you may have new coping strategies nobody can fully prepare you for life outside of treatment.

For some people, sharing that you’re in recovery is a large, intimidating hurdle. It can be stressful and cause anxiety. To help with that, we’ll share some tips on when and how to tell people you are in recovery.

When to Tell Someone You’re in Recovery

Unfortunately, there may never be a perfect time to share that you’re in recovery, but that doesn’t mean you should hide it. How soon you decide to tell people about your recovery will depend on your relationship with them.

Ultimately, it is up to you when you share that you’re in recovery. However, if you start to build a close relationship with someone, it is important that you do eventually tell them. Telling someone that you are sober can be a huge weight off your shoulders. In most cases, the sooner you tell someone, the better you will feel. Once they are aware, most people will be supportive and can become another ally for your sobriety.

Knowing when to tell someone you are sober can be challenging, especially when it comes to dating. It may not be comfortable to bring up your recovery on the first date. However, once you start dating someone more seriously, you will need to tell them. If you are looking for a life partner, it’s better to know whether they are okay with it.

How to Tell Someone You Are in Recovery

Telling people that you’re in recovery can be intimidating, no matter how close you are with someone. You may be worried they will judge you or think differently of you. That’s why we will share some advice on how to tell someone that you’re in recovery. It may not be easy, but we hope this helps.

  • Do not worry about being judged. Not everyone is going to be as supportive as you would like them to be. However, the people who truly care about you will be supportive. People who are going to judge you for your sobriety are probably people you don’t want in your life.
  • Do not make it a big deal. People tend to react to things the way they are given the news. While it may seem like a big deal to you, try to relax. The bigger deal you make out of sharing your recovery, the more likely the person is going to be concerned and ask more questions. If you play it off, the person will likely respond in a similar fashion.
  • Keep it simple. Instead of working yourself up and preparing a long explanation, keep it short and simple. Saying “I’m in recovery” or “I’m sober” will often be enough. You can elaborate on your addiction and recovery another time if you feel comfortable doing so. Most people will often leave it at that, but some will ask questions. If you don’t feel like answering questions right away, it’s perfectly acceptable to say you don’t want to talk about it.
  • Tell people who matter. While some people are more open about their sobriety, you do not need to tell people if you don’t want to. We do recommend you tell your friends and family, but you do not have to tell everyone. People like your coworkers, acquaintances, and so on do not need to know if you don’t want them to.

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Sleeping Tips for People in Recovery

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Sleep and Recovery

It’s normal for people to toss and turn at night. It’s normal for people to occasionally have a problem sleeping. However, for people in recovery, sleep problems are a common struggle. It is amplified if people are going through alcohol or drug detox and their body is going through withdrawal. These sleep disturbances can last for weeks or even months. Common sleep disturbances for people in recovery include:

  • Trouble falling asleep
  • Problems staying asleep
  • Poor sleep quality
  • Sleep apnea
  • Abnormal sleep stages
  • Relapse dreams

Some reports have suggested that insomnia is five times more likely for people in early recovery. Even with all of these common disturbances, getting a good night’s sleep in recovery is important to help your body and mind heal. Without sleep, the risk of relapse greatly increases.

Tips for Better Sleep

Because sleep is essential during recovery, it is important to have a few tips and tricks up your sleeve. We’ll give you some sleeping tips to help you feel well-rested.

  • Stick to a Sleep Schedule: One of the best ways to improve your sleep patterns is to stick to a consistent sleep schedule. Not only should you plan for eight hours of sleep every night, but you should also go to bed and wake up around the same time each day. A regular sleep routine can reset your circadian rhythm and help your body understand it’s time for bed. You should also avoid long naps later in the day because it can throw off your routine.
  • Only Use Your Bed for Sleeping: Another tip to help you get a good night’s sleep is to only use your bed for sleeping. Watching television or doing work in your bed can create an association in your mind that your bed isn’t just for sleeping. This association can make it more difficult for your mind to relax when you lay in bed, making it more difficult to fall asleep.
  • Create a Relaxing Sleep Environment: It’s a lot harder to fall asleep with loud noises, bright lights, and when it’s too hot. Try to create a peaceful environment in your room. Studies have shown that people sleep better in a cooler room. Try using a fan, blocking out unnecessary light, and maybe using a white noise machine or a sleep track to drown out loud noises.
  • Exercise Regularly: An easy way to help improve sleep quality is to exercise regularly. Not only is exercise good for recovery and your overall health, but it is also known to improve sleep quality.
  • Track Your Sleep Patterns: If you’re following all of these tips and nothing is helping improve your sleep quality, it may be a sign of another problem. Keeping a log of your sleep disturbances may help a doctor diagnose and treat a sleep condition.

No matter what you do, improving sleep quality takes time, especially in recovery. Be patient if things aren’t fixed right away. Give it some time. Generally, the longer that you are in recovery, the fewer sleep problems you will have. However, if sleep problems persist or do not improve, it may help to go see a doctor.

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Healthy Eating Habits and Nutrition

How Does Substance Abuse Affect Your Body?

Good nutrition and maintaining healthy eating habits are important to help you continue with recovery. Drugs and alcohol are toxins. When they enter your body, they begin upsetting critical chemical and physiological processes within your brain and body. Due to this, your body is not able to maintain the vitamins, nutrients, and minerals that are essential for you. Below are the different ways substance abuse can damage your body.

  • Alcohol: Alcohol can make you physically sick. Oftentimes, in a way that manifests as gastrointestinal difficulties, such as vomiting or diarrhea. These two things can affect your ability to take in chemical components such as electrolytes. Alcohol consumption can cause nutritional deficiency, specifically vitamin B.
  • Opioids: Opioids can cause gastrointestinal difficulties as well, including constipation. The side effects of these are similar to alcohol.
  • Stimulants: Stimulants can suppress one’s appetite, which may cause a significant amount of weight loss and malnutrition. They may also refrain from drinking fluids, leading to dehydration and electrolyte imbalances.

 

How to Use Nutrition to Help Your Body

Good nutrition is essential to good health. It can help ward off illness and disease and keep your body and brain in good shape. It can help you from giving into stress. Here, we will discuss nutritional steps you can take to help counteract the affect substance abuse has had on your body.

  • Malnutrition: To counteract malnutrition, it is important to begin eating a balanced diet. It is a good idea to eat grains, vegetables, fruits, meats, and dairy. Generally, following the food pyramid is a good way to maintain a healthy diet. However, certain medical or dietary concerns may suggest that you follow certain guidelines.
  • Electrolyte Imbalance: Drinking water is the easiest way to counteract an electrolyte imbalance. However, here are some foods that contain electrolytes as well:
    • Potassium: Strawberries, bananas, and sweet potatoes
    • Magnesium: Vegetables, beans, nuts, and most cereals
    • Calcium: Dairy, meats, and beans
    • Sodium: Table salt, cheese, and sauerkraut. Please note, it is important to limit your sodium intake.
  • Decreased Immune System: Eating fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help increase your immune system. Depending on what you need, there are also dietary supplements that can help increase your immune system.
  • Weight Issues: Substance abuse can change your weight. This can be significant gains or significant losses – both of which present health issues. In general, it is best to eat a well-balanced diet of grains, vegetables, fruits, meats and dairy. However, consulting with a doctor or nutritionist may be best to help you decide what dietary changes you need to make.
  • Chemical Changes: Your diet is not only essential for your body, but it is essential for your brain’s health. It can play into your mood and ability to handle stress. Certain foods that can help are:
    • Tryptophan: Turkey, cheese, chicken, eggs, fish, milk, and various nuts
    • Choline: Fish, bananas, avocados, and almonds
    • Folic Acid: Brown rice, red meats, fish, eggs, and dairy
    • Omega 3’s: Fish (especially salmon), walnuts, soybeans, eggs, and kiwi

 

Nutritional Supplements

Depending on the circumstances, you may need to take nutritional supplements. Before taking nutritional supplements, it is important to talk to your doctor first. They will be able to help you find the right supplement, if they recommend taking one.

The Benefits of Yoga During Recovery

Understanding Yoga

When someone says “yoga” it is common for people to think of extremely difficult poses or chanting. You may also think “there’s no way I can do yoga!” But don’t worry – yoga isn’t just crazy poses that you hold for hours on end. Yoga is essentially a unification of your body, mind, and spirit. It is designed for calming your mind, exercising your body, and getting in touch with your spiritual center. As with almost anything, you master yoga by doing a little bit at a time.

It is important to note that yoga cannot and should not be used as the only treatment for addiction recovery. You will still need to go through detox and other necessary medical treatments recommended by your recovery specialist.

 

Yoga Can and WILL Benefit Your Recovery

You may feel doubtful of the benefits that yoga can offer to your recovery. It may seem weird that stretching and breathing can help you beat addiction, but it’s true! Yoga is an amazing coping tool. Here are some of the benefits yoga will offer to your recovery:

  • Physical Benefits: You will feel stronger and more flexible after each exercise. Any aches and pains you may feel from withdrawal will decrease as times goes on and you stretch through them. Yoga also helps with stress-reduction. The calm-breathing exercises, gentle movements, and meditative benefits can help calm your nerves, reduce cravings, and help treat psychological distress or trauma you may feel.
  • Improved Circulation: Better blood circulation not only lowers your blood pressure and your risk of heart disease, it also increases oxygen flow to your brain, improves your mood, and helps you think more clearly.
  • Emotional Benefits: Yoga gives you a greater peace of mind and gives you one more healthier coping mechanism. Instead of turning to drugs or alcohol, you turn to yoga exercises.
  • Increased Self-Discipline: Learning to say “no” to an addiction is challenging. However, the challenge of committing to yoga can give you the discipline you need to stick to your new sober lifestyle.
  • Inner Peace: The spiritual benefit of yoga extends beyond the bounds of all religions and can be used to enhance inner peace. Like the 12-step program, it asks that you believe in a higher power, but never dictates the exact power.

 

Holland Pathways

Here at Holland Pathways, we believe yoga is an important part of recovery. We offer yoga every morning because we believe in strengthening the mind, body, and spirit.

The Stages of Opiate Withdrawal

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Opiate Abuse

Did you know that roughly 2 million people struggle with opiate abuse in the U.S.? Opiates are known as highly addictive substances and they are commonly abused through both prescription and non-prescription use. Long-term use of opiates can lead to dependency. When someone who abuses opiates stops or slows their use of the drug, it is common to undergo withdrawal within six to twelve hours after taking their last dose.

Common opiates and opioids include but are not limited to:

  • Codeine
  • Fentanyl
  • Heroin
  • Hydrocodone (also known as Vicodin, Norco, Lortab)
  • Hydromorphone (also known as Dilaudid)
  • Morphine
  • Oxycodone (also known as Oxycontin)

How Long Does Opiate Withdrawal Last?

Certain withdrawal symptoms may begin within hours of the last dose. Other symptoms appear later in the withdrawal process and may continue for a week or longer. For example, psychological symptoms – such as cravings and anxiety – can persist for weeks or even months after stopped use.

It is common for medical detox to last between five to seven days. During this time, a person detoxing from opiate or opioid drugs will experience withdrawal in three distinct stages. These stages are based on the types of symptoms experienced, how intense these symptoms are, and how long they are expected to last.

The exact timeline for opiate withdrawal varies from person to person. It depends on the specific drug that was abused, the method of use, how long the drug was used, and how much of it. There are also additional factors to take into consideration. History of trauma, mental health conditions, environmental and biological factors, and whether medical care during detoxification is received are all factors.

The Stages of Opiate Withdrawal

There are three stages of opiate withdrawal: early withdrawal, peak period, and late withdrawal. We will break down each stage and how it can affect the person going through withdrawal.

Stage 1: Early Withdrawal

The first stage of withdrawal symptoms may begin as early as six to twelve hours after the last dose is taken for short-acting opiates – such as heroin – or within 30 hours for long-acting opiates. In the beginning of this stage, people experience a set of uncomfortable physical and psychological symptoms. These symptoms typically worsen over the next day or two.

Early Withdrawal Symptoms:

  • Joint, bone, and muscle aches
  • Insomnia
  • Sweating
  • Loss of appetite
  • Racing heart
  • Runny nose
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Anxiety
  • Fever

Stage 2: Peak Period

The second stage of withdrawal is expected to begin about 72 hours after the last dose is taken. It is called the peak period because it is typically when symptoms reach their peak. This stage can last up to five days after the symptoms begin.

Several symptoms during this period appear to be similar to the flu – dehydration, lack of appetite, nausea, and so on. In order to help a person keep their strength, it is important to maintain adequate levels of hydration and nutrition. Because of the flu-like symptoms, solid foods and fluids other than water may be difficult to keep down. We suggest drinking plenty of water and to opt for softer food or liquid nutritional supplements.

Peak Period Symptoms:

  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Stomach cramps
  • Depression
  • Goosebumps
  • Chills
  • Intense drug cravings

Stage 3: Late Withdrawal

It is during this stage of opiate withdrawal that physical symptoms begin to decline. Some of the more intense psychological symptoms will generally begin to decline as well. Although it may seem like the person going through withdrawal is in the clear, it is important to the loved ones around them to be cautious of persisting symptoms. The first few days following the reduction of symptoms require gentle and patient care.

Opiate abuse and addiction can be complex. It may be tied to psychological or emotional needs that make maintaining recovery more difficult beyond the previous stages of detox. This means that while the chills and nausea of withdrawal are gone, the drug cravings, anxiety, insomnia, and depression may still linger. There are several treatment options that may be recommended after detox. Counseling, medication-assisted therapy, and residential care for addiction may be recommended based on the needs of the individual.

Getting Support for Opiate Addiction

Being willing to take the first step to withdraw from opiate use is a positive move forward, but you don’t have to take that step alone. Here at Holland Pathways, we offer medical detox,  residential inpatient treatment, partial hospitalization and more.

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